Technology and R&D

CEL seeks technology partner for waterless solar module cleaning systems

The state-owned Central Electronics Limited seeks to empanel startups having the technology patent for waterless solar module cleaning system without any moving parts as its intends to manufacture such systems at its facilities.

Single‐walled carbon nanotubes for more efficient III‐V solar cells

Russian researchers have improved the efficiency of a thin-fim GaAs‐based solar cell by 0.9% by applying single‐walled carbon nanotubes as the topmost layer. The cell also showed a slight increase in the short circuit current density, from 16.9 to 17.9 mA/cm2.

‘Free-form’ organic PV

French organic PV module manufacturer Armor said it began manufacturing free-form PV modules in early April. The new technology will allow the company’s ASCA PV film to be produced in a range of different shapes.

Low-cost bio-inspired electrocatalyst for rechargeable metal-air battery

Indian scientists have developed a low-cost electrocatalyst based on iron, manganese and N-doped carbon derived from fish gills (Fe/Mn/N-FGC) that increased the performance of a homemade rechargeable zinc-air battery when used as the air cathode. The Fe/Mn/N-FGC cathode based battery achieved open-circuit voltage of 1.41 V and a large power density of 220 mW/cm2 at 260 mA/cm2 current density—compared to commercial platinum/carbon based battery’s 1.40 V and 158 mW/cm2—with almost stable charge-discharge voltage plateaus at high current density. 

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Solar inverters vs. cyberattacks

A U.S. research group is now developing new inverters to protect solar installations from cyberattacks. The researchers also aim to create new cybersecurity standards. Professor Alan Mantooth, the group’s research coordinator, said that inverters can be shut down if they are hacked, or contribute to grid instability and result in the overcharging of batteries, while potentially creating problems that we still don’t know how to address.

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A non-flammable lithium metal battery

Researchers from Deakin University in Australia claim their battery chemistry is based on a new class of electrolyte material which carries no risk of uncontrolled thermal events and represents a viable alternative to rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.

How much money can you make with PV-assisted EV charging stations?

A French-Turkish research team has created an economic model to optimize scheduling for solar-powered EV charging units. The proposed model suggests that such projects might be more profitable today than at the end of the decade, depending on a wide range of variables.

Preventing PID at 1500 volts

Scientists in Germany have developed a “heavy duty” test to provide insight into the long term effects of potential induced degradation in PV modules. The tests go well beyond those established by IEC standards and seek to guide manufacturers and investors on the best choice of materials – encapsulants in particular – when it comes to long term PID resistance.

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Cooling down PV panels with water

France’s Sunbooster has developed a technology to cool down solar modules when their ambient temperature exceeds 25 degrees Celsius. The solution features a set of pipes that spread a thin film of water onto the glass surface of the panels in rooftop PV systems and ground-mounted plants. The cooling systems collect the water from rainwater tanks and then recycle, filter and store it again. The company claims the technology can facilitate an annual increase in power generation of between 8% and 12%.

The long read: The research behind dust mitigation

Solar PV is surging in the Middle East, due to its sustainability and decentralized nature. But with the ample sunlight of the region comes fine dust, which can sharply reduce power output. Zulfa Rasheed from the Rochester Institute of Technology in Dubai looked at the latest research in the field and found that module-glass coating and robotic solutions appear to be the most promising options when it comes to dealing with dust.

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